7th Circuit People and Events News - U.S. Seventh Circuit
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Recent People and Events Decisions

Customers who have seen their personal information stolen due to corporate data breaches have suffered recognizable injuries and have standing to sue, the Seventh Circuit ruled in late July. The court's holding revived a consumer class action against Neiman Marcus. Customers had sued after a data breach exposed their personal information and credit card numbers.

The ruling could be a boon for consumer advocates and class action lawyers, helping to reduce a major roadblock to litigation. For corporations who are victims to hacking, it could greatly increase their potential liabilities.

You won't find him wandering the streets of Chicago anytime soon, let alone reviving his political career, but ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich became a bit less of a felon yesterday, as the Seventh Circuit tossed out five of his 18 convictions. Blagojevich, you may remember, was arrested while serving as Governor of Illinois in 2009, after investigators caught him trying to sell Barack Obama's former Senate seat.

Blagojevich was convicted on 18 counts of corruption, attempted extortion, wire fraud, and associated crimes. Mistakes in jury instructions require that five of those convictions be vacated, the Seventh Circuit ruled.

Smoking Gun in Text Message Antitrust Suit Not Smoking Enough

Remember the days before unlimited text messaging plans? Text messages seemed to cost an obscene amount of money. If you actually calculated the data cost, at 20 cents per text, it averaged out to over $1,300 per megabyte.

The current litigation in the Seventh Circuit is now over four years old. It's a class action brought by text messaging customers claiming wireless providers conspired to drive up text message prices in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. After all that time, a district court granted summary judgment for the wireless carriers and dismissed the case. Last week, in an opinion by Judge Richard Posner, the Seventh Circuit affirmed.

5 Things to Be Thankful for in the Seventh Circuit

As we give thanks this year, we wondered, what is there to be thankful for in the Seventh Circuit?

Partly it's that we never stop to consider the court beyond its opinions (and partly it's a slow news week in the Seventh). When we crunched the numbers, we found out there was a lot of great stuff happening in the court of appeals that covers Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. Here are just five of them.

Redbox Isn't Violating 1980s Video-Rental Privacy Law: 7th Cir.

Believe it or not, federal law prohibits disclosing a person's videotape rental records. Congress passed the Video Privacy Protection Act after Judge Robert Bork's video rental history was leaked during his failed nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987. (The author of a widely read article on "The Bork Tapes," Michael Dolan, said that the leak was a response to Bork's assertions that only statutes, and not the Constitution, could protect the right to privacy.)

Kevin Sterk and Jiah Jung live in the year 2014. They're users of the DVD-rental service Redbox, and they sued under the video rental history law, claiming that Redbox violated the law by forwarding customer information to a company called Stream.

7th Cir. Gets Fed. Court Out of Wis. Campaign Finance Case

As you've no doubt read before, Wisconsin state officials are investigating Governor Scott Walker's office for violations of campaign finance laws. The allegations -- which came to light through the Seventh Circuit's inadvertent disclosure of documents -- were that the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a political advocacy organization, had illegally coordinated with Governor Scott Walker's anti-recall efforts.

At the same time a criminal investigation against "John Doe" targets was ongoing, Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board launched its own investigation and subpoenaed documents from the Club for Growth.

7th Cir. Accidentally Releases Gov. Walker Campaign Probe Documents

In 2012, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dodged efforts to recall him after his administration stripped public employees of their union rights. He didn't emerge completely unscathed, however -- shortly after the election, prosecutors began looking into whether members of his administration violated campaign finance laws.

Though two judges have already heard the evidence and ordered prosecutors to back off, the Seventh Circuit is currently hearing those prosecutors' pleas to continue looking into the governor's staff's ties to the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a nonprofit conservative group that funneled cash to a number of other conservative PACs that helped Gov. Walker fight back against the recall push.

On Friday, the Seventh Circuit accidentally released confidential documents related to the case. What did those documents show?

Horse-Racing RICO Claim Involving Ex-Gov. Blagojevich Can Proceed

You remember Rod Blagojevich, right? The former governor of Illinois who was convicted of corruption for attempting to sell former U.S. Senator Barack Obama's senate seat? (I wonder what happened to that guy?)

Blagojevich and his awesome hair resurfaced in an opinion from the Seventh Circuit on Friday, where the court found there was sufficient evidence to survive summary judgment on a RICO claim against him.

7th Circuit Can't Decide If Jail 'Booking Fee' Is Constitutional

In Woodridge, Illinois, it used to be that everyone who was arrested and then bailed out of jail had to pay a $30 fee. Jerry Markadonatos was arrested for misdemeanor shoplifting, arrested, booked, paid bail, and was released. Later, he pleaded guilty, served 12 months of probation, and then had the charges dismissed.

This misdemeanor and the $30 booking fee, however, led to a big split on an en banc panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. They disagreed on what the problem was, how it applied to Markadonatos, and whether he even had standing in the first place.

Here's a rundown of the Seventh Circuit panel's four separate opinions in Markadonatos v. Village of Woodridge:

The Sixth Circuit is not alone in consolidating appeals of same sex marriage cases within the circuit: last week, the Seventh Circuit consolidated two same sex marriage cases.

The Seventh Circuit also recently decided a case affecting all of the states surrounding the Great Lakes, and is going to hear a case about an Indiana law regulating the sale of cold beer. Finally, our favorite benchslapper speaks out.

Read on for details on all of these stories.